The Fall of the Soviet Union
On Christmas Day 1991, the Soviet flag flew over the Kremlin in Moscow for the last time. A few days earlier, representatives from 11 Soviet republics (Ukraine, the Russian Federation, Belarus, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Moldova, Turkmenistan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan) met in the Kazakh city of Alma-Ata and announced that they would no longer be part of the Soviet Union. Instead, they declared they would establish a Commonwealth of Independent States. Because the three Baltic republics (Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia) had already declared their independence from the USSR, only one of its 15 republics, Georgia, remained. The once-mighty Soviet Union had fallen, largely due to the great number of radical reforms that Soviet president Mikhail Gorbachev had implemented during his six years as the leader of the USSR. However, Gorbachev was disappointed in the dissolution of his nation and resigned from his job on December 25. It was a peaceful end to a long, terrifying and sometimes bloody epoch in world history.